February 13, 2018

How to get your short term rental ready for guests

It’s easy when you stay at a hotel. You have some soap, towels, little bottles of lotion and hair products. Hopefully you have some clean glasses and maybe even a coffee maker. Most decent rooms have something to iron and hang your clothing. Very few are without a flat panel television or at least a mini fridge.

What we need to learn as a host is while most short-term rental guests are going to need those basic amenities, there are higher expectations when renting a house or condominium. Guests want to feel at home.

Let’s start with the basic needs of a guest.

A Place to Rest: The Bedrooms

Remember the bedroom is more than a place to sleep. When you’re on vacation, it could be the only place your guest might get time alone. Good ratings will come from making each room comfortable and peaceful.

·         The bed: Make it nice, comfortable, and the right size for the room. Having a crappy bed isn’t going to get you a 5-star review. And consider your space: bigger isn’t always better. Your guest needs some space, so don’t drop a California king in a tiny bedroom. That said, try not to have anything smaller than a double.

·         Furniture: Have nightstands and a chest of drawers unless there’s a walk-in closet with organization that has spots to hang and store folded clothing.

·         Lighting: At least one lamp on a nightstand. Remember what it’s like at your house. You still need to make it to the bed after you turn out the ceiling light.

·         Bedding: Make sure to have at least 1 backup set of sheets for each bed. Have a nice comforter or duvet.

·         Pillows and decorative pillows.

·         Full length mirror and an iPhone/pad or alarm clock.

Living Room and Other Community Areas

·         Consider having a desk somewhere. If you have more than two rooms, consider having a couple small work areas.

·         Area rugs, coffee table, end tables, throw pillows, and at least a nice couch. If you have room for more than a couple people, you should have space for at least a loveseat and chair.

·         Dining room should have a table and chairs that matches the amount of people that might be staying. If you have 3 rooms, you should have seats and settings for at least 6 people.


·         Make sure you have dishes, silverware, pots, and pans. If you have outdoor space, you should have additional non-breakable settings for outdoors including plates and bowls. Try to have double the settings and tableware for maximum guests. People don’t always do dishes and it’s one of the first things most homes are short on.

·         Glasses, coffee cups, mugs, beer, and wine glasses.

·         Utensils: Everything you would want in your home: At full set or more of pots and pans, saucepans including a pasta boiler. Spatulas, serving spoons, can opener, garlic press, water kettle, etc.

·         General supplies: dishwashing soap, paper towels, garbage can and bags, soap.

·         A nice touch is having condiments on hand like ketchup and mustard. Most can be purchased for about a dollar and it can make all the difference.


This of course has everything to do with how much space you have available. If you have a big deck and room for plenty of guests make sure you have enough seating for everyone. Here are the basics:

·         Table and chairs are a must, a loveseat is a nice touch.

·         If it’s a house, having a BBQ and utensils is important and a small firepit or heating unit goes a long way to better ratings.

Electronics and entertainment

·         High speed internet with password protected Wi-Fi.

·         Roku, Amazon Firestick, or a Google cast for every TV in the house.

·         A nice touch of course is a having a Netflix or Hulu account. Make sure not to use your personal email account if you offer this service. Set up a separate account used only for your rentals.

·         A nice coffee maker or pod unit. An automated espresso machine is a nice touch but not necessary. The newer machines can be purchased for under $150 like the Gourmia.

·         Flat panel televisions. With the dropping cost of HDTVs, there should be absolutely no excuse for not having one in the main area and another in the master bedroom. Here’s a 4k 55 Inch LED  for $299.99.

·         A good speaker or surround sound system with a Bluetooth connection.


·         Towels: Make sure you have at least 2 per person or 4 per bedroom. This includes hand, face, and bath. Don’t skimp on the towels. Be ready to go through towels. They are the most used items in a house.

·         Toiletries – For both body and shower. Shampoo and conditioner.  

·         Shower and bath mats.

·         Small trashcan, plunger, and toilet cleaner

·         For a small price tag, you can grab some extras like bath salts, brushes, or scrunches. If you’re going to provide these, make sure to replace them every stay. It’s a negative to find a used bath scrunchy in the shower.

General items: hair dryer, ironing board and iron, board games or cards, fans, magazines or books, movies/DVD player, bottle of wine, a welcome gift, extra light bulbs, candles in case the lights go out…I could go on, but you get the picture.

Really think about what you need at your house. Obviously, you can’t provide everything and make a profit but if it’s cheap, easy to buy, store and makes your guest happy, you’ll get 5 stars every time.

If you need more help on how to get your home ready for guests, let us help you at http://www.voyajoy.comwww.voyajoy.com

Chang Kim

My name is Chang and I manage operations at Voyajoy. I've been in the short-term rental space for the last four years and have an operations career dating back 20+ years. I've learned about vacation rental management the hard way and have seen how quickly this industry has changed in a very short time. My objective is to use this experience and knowledge to give our valued clients big competitive advantages.

Rental Management
Rental management software
short-term rental
short-term rental management
Short-term rental management
Vacation Rentals

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on vacation rentals!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form